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Valley real estate expert says keeping up with your neighbors might be good idea

(Twitter photo/@Lowes)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Keeping up with the Joneses could pay off in the long run.

Valley real estate expert Dean Wegner said that if you see the neighbors next door doing some remodeling on their house, it might be a good idea to do the same thing.

He also said if you go to sell your house, you may be glad that you invested in the upgrades.

"Banks, appraisers and realtors are going to look at similar homes for comparable sales," Wegner said. "If you have a remodeled kitchen, they're going to compare your home to those that have a remodeled kitchen. The same goes for remodeled bathrooms and closets. They'll be looking at the same type of houses."

Wegner said that not keeping up with improvements that your neighbor makes could cost you dearly when you try to sell your house.

"Let's say that an above-average, 2,000-square-foot home sells for $180 a square foot, but a similar, inferior home only sells for $160 a square foot. Just that little difference of $20 a foot on a 2,000-square-foot house can be a $40,000 difference," said Wegner.

He also said expanded closets and open kitchens with dark countertops are popular right now.

The National Association of Homebuilders says updating your laundry room and bathroom linen closet and knocking out a wall to make your kitchen more open are additions that can drive up the value of your home. The Association says those projects can be done for about $5,000 each, but that you can recover the cost when you sell your home.

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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